Henderson hits first homer since August '02

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Rickey Henderson's showboating days may be behind him, but his baseball career isn't -- not by a long shot.

Henderson hit his first home run since returning to the major leagues, and the Los Angeles Dodgers rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 8-5 Friday night.

The future Hall of Famer, in his 25th big-league campaign, trimmed the Cardinals' lead to 4-3 in the third inning with his 296th career homer and first since Aug. 17, 2002.

"I really never know when a home run is going to come," said Henderson, who hit a career-high 28 homers in 1986 with the Yankees and matched that total in his 1990 MVP season with Oakland.

"The important thing was just putting the good part of the bat on the ball," he said.

When he made contact, instead of admiring his drive to center field, he put his head down and started running without any of the usual theatrics that were always part of Henderson's game. And despite a standing ovation from the crowd of 43,504, Henderson did not come out of the dugout to take a bow.

"Usually, I wouldn't take a curtain call when we're behind," Henderson said. "I mean, you appreciate the fans for what they're doing, but you don't want to be celebrating when you're losing the ballgame.

"I usually go slower and a little stutter-step, but this time I ran around the bases -- and my teammates got mad at me because I didn't do none of my styling or my tricks that I do around the basepaths when we're leading in the ballgame. I'd rather celebrate when we're winning."

Henderson, the career leader in stolen bases, walks and runs scored, spent last year with Boston but wasn't re-signed. He played 56 games for Newark of the independent Atlantic League before the Dodgers signed him Monday.

The 44-year-old left fielder, who played parts of seven seasons for Cardinals manager Tony La Russa at Oakland, is batting leadoff and playing left field in the absence of injured outfielders Dave Roberts and Brian Jordan. He went 2-for-4.

"If he's playing, he knows he's got something left," La Russa said. "Ten years before we got him, he was the most dangerous player in the league, and then we got him. When a guy's a great player, anything he does is not a surprise. He's very special that way. He's done this for so long, he deserves a lot of extra credit."

With the Dodgers trailing 5-3 in the sixth, Shawn Green triggered the L.A. rally with a double against starter Brett Tomko and scored on Adrian Beltre's sacrifice fly against Cal Eldred (3-3).

After a two-out walk to David Ross, Cesar Izturis hit an RBI single to tie it, and pinch-hitter Daryle Ward made it 6-5 with a run-scoring single while batting for Kazuhisa Ishii (9-3).

Ishii, who entered with a league-leading 1.83 ERA in home games, allowed five runs -- four earned -- and seven hits over six innings and struck out five. Eric Gagne got three outs for his 41st consecutive save, his 33rd this season.

The Cardinals, who had five players in the All-Star Game for the first time since 1946, are 0-2 since the break. No team managed by La Russa has come out of an All-Star break worse than 0-2 since back in 1984, when La Russa's Chicago White Sox lost their first three against Baltimore.

St. Louis used back-to-back homers by Jim Edmonds and Albert Pujols in the first inning and a solo shot by Edgar Renteria in the sixth to build a 5-3 lead against Ishii. But the Dodgers, whose moribund offense has come to life in the last eight games, rallied with three runs in their half of the sixth.

The Dodgers have scored 52 runs in the last eight games, matching their total in their previous 20 games.

"Right before the break, we scored six runs one game at Colorado and lost, but you could kind of see that the offense was picking it up," Ward said. "And to add a couple more guys who can swing the stick just pumps you up more because you always feel like you have a chance to come back and win the game."

Jeromy Burnitz, acquired Monday in a trade with the New York Mets, had a pair of RBI singles. One came in the seventh, extending the Dodgers' lead to 7-5. Wilkin Ruan hit an RBI double in the eighth for the Dodgers' final run.

Game notes
Henderson's last previous homer was against Minnesota's Mike Jackson at the Metrodome in 2002. ... Edmonds and Pujols also homered against Ishii on July 4, 2002, at St. Louis in a 3-2 win at St. Louis. This was the fourth time they have homered back-to-back this year. ... Renteria made a two-base throwing error after backhanding Beltre's grounder in the hole in the fourth. It was the 14th error by the All-Star shortstop, who won a Gold Glove in each of the previous two seasons.